V.G. Movies #19: Alone In The Dark.

[Welcome back to the Evolution of Video Game Movies series. Every week, I will be moving forward through time, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent of video game movies. I will be detailing the histories of the games and how the films came about, and both my and fan reaction to the adaptations. Practically all of my background information is either common knowledge or from Wikipedia. So without further ado, let's move on to the next film on the list.]


For my second (current) venture into the land of Boll, we must now discuss the game franchise known as Alone in the Dark. Inspired by stories from H.P. Lovecraft, this series was released by gaming company Infogrames in 1992. The first game in the series was a PC survival horror game, and one of the first two games ever to use polygonal characters over pre-rendered backgrounds. The story of the first game followed a private eye named Edward Carnby in 1924 as he solves a mystery in an old mansion while being attacked by monsters and such.

In 1993, a sequel was released, also for the PC, that took the game from a survival horror to more of an action/shooter. The story involved yet another haunted mansion, but this time also included the disappearance of a little girl and some ghost pirates. The original trilogy was rounded out in 1994 with the third game on the PC. This game, however, attempted to return to the original style of gameplay as the first game. The story yet again follows Edward Carnby as he goes to a literal ghost town and fights against evil zombie cowboys and dangerous curses and spirits.

And then it moved to consoles. In 2001, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare was released. The story has been updated, too, now set in 2001 instead of the 1920s. Yet we're still following Edward Carnby... and here's how that is explained: Carnby belongs to a line of Shadow Hunters, all orphan boys who are born on February 29 every 40 years, all raised at St. George's Orphanage, all named Edward Carnby. This game's story follows this Carnby as his best friend is murdered. There are some magic tablets involved, which lead him to teaming up with a young, pretty, and intelligent college professor named Aline Cedrac. Together, they have to figure out the mystery behind the tablets and the murder. And yes, monsters and whatnot are abundant, but this time they're reptilian shadow creatures who are hurt by light.

Of course, it's the red-headed stepchild of the series. The game that followed in 2008 essentially retconned and pretended as if that game never happened, tying itself back in with the original trilogy. So, of course, when the series goes to have a film version... it has to be based around that fourth game which, canonically, has practically nothing to do with the rest of the series. But not only is it not an adaptation of the game, it considers itself somewhat of a sequel to it (meaning you'd need to play the game to understand stuff). But that's not all--apparently, it (shocker) gets things wrong and contradicts its source, so it's not canonical with the game that's not canonical with the rest of the series anyway.

But apparently it wasn't always that way. The original draft was supposedly more atmospheric and Lovecraftian. But then they hired Uwe Boll to direct. And the result was what is considered one of the worst films ever made. Now, apparently there is a director's cut, and it's supposedly actually decent (or at least watchable)--partly in thanks to the fact Boll himself cut out nearly all of Tara Reid's scenes from the film.

The film was a bomb, though, in all forms. I, personally, tried watching it years ago and was so bored I actually fell asleep. This is one of the few video game Boll movies I haven't seen the entirety of prior to this project, so it'll be an interesting experience. Let's get to it, shall we?


Yeah, it sucks. A lot. But it's certainly not my least favorite Uwe Boll film (that would be Seed). This one follows Edward Carnby (Christian Slater... at the low point in his career), who has amnesia about parts of his childhood at an orphanage. He's a paranormal detective and looking into some... thing or another... that involves an ancient race or something. And he gets involved with an old flame, an archeologist named Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid... at... just a point in her career). He also must contend with an old rival, Richard Burke (Stephen Dorff). And... stuff happens. And stuff.

I don't know why it's so difficult to talk about what this movie is about. The majority of it is exposition, after all. Hell, literally the first minute and a half is a scroll-text of information narrated to you--since we can't read, and all. In fact, this movie feels that its audience is so stupid that there's also a voice-over narration from Slater that tells you either exactly what's going on at the moment or recounts exactly what just occurred moments before... for practically every other scene. This movie isn't even all that difficult to comprehend. You can figure out the "big twist" in the first 5 minutes of the movie. They practically spoon feed it to you. And almost any scene with Tara Reid is pure exposition. It's some of the clunkiest dialogue I've ever heard... and then it's delivered by Tara Reid, who can't act anyway.

I'll talk about the casting in this briefly, because it pretty much speaks for itself. Christian Slater is crap in this, but mainly only because Boll mishandled him. Reid was so bad and unnecessary that Boll himself basically surgically removed her from the film in his director's cut. Stephen Dorff is alright, but his character is completely unoriginal. Just the acting in general in this film is poor, but most of that can be attributed to a lousy script and a piss-poor director.

Boll also continues to show he does not know how to transition into an action scene (or film one, much less). Just like with his previous House of the Dead, the scene just stops, basically, and then starts up again while every character is posing and shooting straight ahead of them. They never move any parts of their bodies except maybe their legs. Everything is like an automaton. And the backgrounds during these scenes might as well just be painted on. It's not like you can see them, anyway, what with everything else being pitch black. There's only one fight scene that isn't like this, and it's near the beginning against this bald-headed dude. But that one is still clunky and derivative of other films.

I honestly don't need to drone on about this one. It has a reputation of being one of the worst films ever made. Eh... I've seen worse. Much worse. This one is very poorly made from the ground up with bad decisions made all around, but its worst crime is that it's boring. Like I said earlier, even Boll himself has worse films out there. This is a train wreck, and not even an interesting train wreck. I'm kind of interested in seeing the director's cut some day just to see what he did with it. But until then, I'll probably never feel the need to watch this one again.

The Zed Word

(P.S. Even the last seconds make no sense. You spend the entire movie building up the fact that these things can be killed by light, especially sunlight... and your last shot is a "monster cam" attack on the two leads in broad daylight? Yeah... no.)


  1. Oh man, I worked at a movie theater when this came out and we refunded so many tickets. (did the same thing for House of the Dead, too) I'm not surprised, how could a movie that casts Tara Reid as a scientist possibly be taken seriously? I agree that it failed on multiple levels.

    1. Hey, thanks for the comment! Much appreciated!

      Yeah, this was a rough one. I can imagine people asking for refunds. But if that happens with newer Uwe Boll films, the theaters should refuse. People should know what they're getting into with Uwe Boll at this point.

  2. There is something much worse and that would be Alone in the Dark II. Uwe Boll produced the sequel but didn't direct it. Really bad that someone thought one of the worst movies ever made somehow deserved a sequel.


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